The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions delivered a first for the 2021 NFL season on Sunday afternoon: a tie. A full 70 minutes of rather sloppy football wasn't enough to decide the contest that ended 16-16.
Even Mike Tomlin was willing to acknowledge that his team didn't do enough to win.
The Steelers head coach met with reporters after the game and shared the blunt message that he gave to Pittsburgh's players following the end of overtime. Tomlin explained that he was proud of his team's fight, but didn't congratulate them on the mistake-laden performance.
"I just met with the team. Acknowledged the fight. Didn’t congratulate them for it. … Just too sloppy to win," Tomlin said on what his message to his players was after Sunday's tie, per Dejan Kovacevic.
Tomlin hit the nail on the head by saying that his team was "too sloppy" to win. The Steelers turned the ball over three times on Sunday, including twice in the overtime period, which limited their opportunities down the stretch.
The Steelers came into the game as rather comfortable favorites, given their recent success and the fact that they were playing at home. However, starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was ruled out less than 24 hours before kickoff after testing positive for COVID-19, dealing a major blow to Pittsburgh's prospects.
That gave backup Mason Rudolph the chance to lineup under center. He got Pittsburgh off on the right foot, scoring a touchdown on the team's first offensive possession, but struggled to keep the momentum rolling.
The Steelers did not find the end zone again and settled for three field goals instead.
Sunday's tie prevented Pittsburgh from grabbing a share of the lead in the AFC North. Tomlin's team now sits at 5-3-1, in possession of second-place in the crowded division.
The Steelers will hope to wipe the slate clean next Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Roethlisberger's status for the night game remains unclear, but Pittsburgh is optimistic that he'll be able to return in time.
So long as he returns two negative tests at least 24 hours apart and is asymptomatic, the 39-year-old will be able to take the field come kickoff.